Thursday, February 18, 2010

Where are the differentiated brand positionings in the world of banking and insurance?

That's a good question. I'm just in the process of transferring my home insurance and it suddenly struck me that I feel no loyalty whatsoever to the company that has been my home insurance provider for years. No, instead I'm sick of being ignored as a customer after having paid more than 5000SEK a year for a number of years. Where are the customer benefits or the perks? Why don't I feel special or valued? I'm moving on. And this time I will change to a provider that will be probably be equally rubbish at making me feel special - but this time for 3500SEK per year.

So, what's the problem - why don't these companies try to differentiate themselves and their brands? Is it simply that they don't feel the need to be different? They somehow inherit their customers (the child goes to the same bank as the parents...), tie them to the bank by creating difficult transfer systems (Anyone out there who's keen to swap retail bank?). In the UK some 10 years ago there were a number of online banks that did a great job of creating differentiated brand positionings. One of those is Egg. I loved the way they communicated their brand as youthful, fun and energetic. I've personally never used them as a bank but I think they've done fairly well for themselves. Apart from Egg - another bank that is different and has made me feel special and valued as a customer is First Direct in the UK. These banks have a clear view of their target group. They understand their banking needs. For First Direct this has resulted in an amazing level of customer service and a matter of fact, simple, personal and non-interfering style.

In Sweden I've got nothing to report on when it comes to different brand propositions in the world of banking. But hopefully new names like e.g. Avanza, might realise the potential of brand when it comes to engaging with and creating long lasting loyalty with consumers. We will see!

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